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His two other recommendations at the end come in the form of quotes from professors who we are supposed to not consider fanatics like everyone else in the debate (nor quoted out of context):

...My view is reinforced by the Welsh scientist, Sir Roger Williams, in his 2009 British Academy lecture. He remarked his "greatest hope among renewables is of tidal power ... both predictable and potentially substantial". He supported the Severn barrage, a sacrifice of landscape preferable to putting the Cambrian mountains under wind turbines.

Another trusty is Dieter Helm, Oxford professor of energy policy, who makes the seemingly obvious point that since gas is cheap and prevalent and has lower emissions than coal, the biggest carbon gain is won by a straight switch from coal to gas.

The Severn Barrage, not a significant sacrifice of landscape? (And he compares it to on-shore rather than off-shore wind?) And all that for at most 8.5 GW? And switch to more gas when domestic extraction is in decline?

I also checked out the second source, this Dieter Helm. Jenkins gives an air of neutrality by characterising him as "Oxford professor", although his homepage implies more direct involvement in the government policymaking Jenkins decries:

Current appointments include: Independent Chair of the Defra Natural Capital Committee, Member of the Economics Advisory Group to the UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.

During 2011, Dieter assisted the European Commission in preparing the Energy Roadmap 2050, serving both as a special advisor to the European Commissioner for Energy and as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on the Roadmap. He also assisted the Polish government in their presidency of the European Union Council.

Previous appointments include: membership of the DTI's Sustainable Energy Policy Advisory Board from 2002 to 2007, the Prime Minister's Council of Science and Technology from 2004 to 2007, Chairman of the Academic Panel, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until 2012, and the DTI's Energy Advisory Panel from 1993 to 2003.

Helm has a recent presentation (rather crappy) on the issue of the role of natural gas in decarbonisation. What he is about is advocating a shale gas future, and talks about "the end of 'peak oil' and 'peak gas' nonsense".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed May 23rd, 2012 at 08:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shale gas of course means a difference in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional natural gas. Recent research on the subject:

BBC News - Shale gas 'worse than coal' for climate

Greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas are predominantly down to two things: carbon dioxide produced when the gas is burned, and methane that leaks out while the well is being exploited.

Figures from the US government and industry indicate that at least a third more methane leaks from shale gas extraction than from conventional wells - and perhaps more than twice as much.

...Figures from this research team indicate that over a 20-year period, the net warming impact of using shale gas is worse than coal - and, perhaps more surprisingly, that conventional gas may be worse than coal as well.

Over a 100-year timeframe, conventional gas is almost certainly better than coal - but shale gas could be worse.

(The actual paper is here, and there is an accompanying second paper on indirect CO2 emissions here.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed May 23rd, 2012 at 08:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From a GHG perspective any advantages for gas of either type likely depend on the efficacy with which the gas is kept in the intended pathway to consumption throughout the life-cycle of the resource. At present the cost of leakage is largely externalized by the energy producers and then cost is minimized while impact is maximized by systematic neglect of leakage.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 23rd, 2012 at 12:21:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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